Latha Raju is a prominent Indian playback singer and film actress, who acted in many Malayalam films during the 60s to 70s. She was born in Kochi, Kerala in India and the only daughter of the late playback singer, Santha P. Nair and the late radio dramatist, K. Padmanabhan Nair. Latha is a post graduate in Master of Arts. She has worked at Akashvani-Doordarshan, Chennai as the Director of Marketing in the year 2011 and she continues to work as a consultant in the same post. She got married to Malayalam film singer and music composer, J. M. Raju, and they have two children namely
(who is also a playback singer) and Anupama. She and her husband have done over 1000 stage performances internationally.
Latha used to go with her mother when doing rehearsals. South Indian music director, M. B. Sreenivasan, who composed the music in the 1962 Malayalam film, Snehadeepam, heard her while rendering a Mukesh song and suggested to the film’s producer and director, P. Subramaniam, that it will better if a child will sing for a child. So, Latha bags her very first song in the film entitled Onnaamtharam, which was composed by P. Bhaskaran. The song was picturised on Baby Vinodini, who played as Usha in the film.
In the same year, she sang Thaatheyyam Kaattile, which was picturised on
(as a child actor) on his Malayalam debut film, Kannum Karalum. After this, there is no looking back. Whenever the producers and directors would picturise a song to a child in their films, they will go to Latha’s house. Some of her famous Malayalam performances include Pinchuhridayam and Manjakkilee Swarnakkilee for Sethubandhanam in 1974; Ividathe Chechikku for Azhakulla Saleena in 1973; Aaluvaappuzhakkakare for Aadhyathe Katha in 1972; and Chippee Chippee Muthuchippee for Aranaazhikaneram in 1970. Latha also rendered songs in Kannada, Tamil and Tulu and has dubbed for many actresses like Shobha, Suhasini and Shobhana.
She also dubbed for Sumithra for M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s Malayalam film, Nirmalyam in 1973, was applauded by the National Award-winning actor, P. J. Antony, who played the main lead role in the film and the director himself. Besides singing, she also acted in films like Kannu Karalum, Moodupadam, Kadathukaran, Chemmeen, Mister Kerala, Priya, Achante Bharya, Niramala, Ahalya, Pratheyka Divasam and many more. During the mid-90s, she got involved in home productions. In 2008, Latha won the prestigious Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Awards.